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View Poll Results: Did you fire the housekeeper or gardener upon retirement?
Yes 21 25.30%
No 62 74.70%
Voters: 83. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-09-2019, 08:51 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Aerides View Post
Time is still money. I don't have a maid service, but we do have lawn service. It would cost me a lot more in time to cut my own grass in florida than I'm willing to trade - plus equipment and space for all that stuff (mower, edger, whacker, etc.). Not to mention having to think about how overgrown my yard is looking while I'm travelling for a couple of weeks.

If I already had housekeeping, I'd probably not want to give that up either. But I did convince DH to do a good share of it after we retired so that helps.

I am retired. I have time. My wife loves yard work. I love projects. I don't love cleaning the house but I do it. I'm old school in the sense that if one is physically able it is part of being a homeowner. Right now it is raking up what will be two full truckloads of leaves. Nature of the beast. I am amazed that probably 70% of our neighborhood has lawn service. More power to those that have it. Some day when I get old I might have it or just move to a condo.

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Old 11-09-2019, 10:34 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by tophermiller View Post
Other similar moves might be paid car washes, handyman work you can do yourself, etc. I’m curious how many people made this same cost cutting “time-for-money” tradeoff upon their retirement.
right before I retired, right after the last kid went off to college, we downsized from a 3,500 sf, 4 br/4 ba house to a 905 sf condo 2 br/1 ba in the city. No need for house cleaners anymore - very easy to clean.

Also, since we don't live in the burbs anymore, we walk to grocery, dining, entertainment. The car stays in the garage more or less, except when we head to the mountains.

No grass to cut. Windows are washed by the condo association. Major repairs done by them as well.

Was going to stain our cabin myself, but after doing just the deck decided it was a bit too dangerous to get up on a ladder by myself so we got a painting company to do that.

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Old 11-09-2019, 10:40 AM   #43
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My attitude is that lawn work is helping to keep me in good physical shape, so I will continue to do it, knowing that one day I will not be able to. It is part of my exercise cycle - do at least one of the gym, golf(walking the course), hiking, biking, or yard work every day.
FIREd date: June 26, 2018 - wwwwwwhat a rush!
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:46 AM   #44
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We never had a housekeeper or lawn care person.
We have considered it as something for the future when we are older, right now we do it ourselves.
Give me a fish, I will eat for a day. Teach me to fish, I will eat for a lifetime.
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:32 AM   #45
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We had someone clean once a month when working. I have plenty of time now to do it. We downsized to 1400 sq ft so easy to do. Our yard is low maintenance with Astro-turf and sprinklers for plants. We live in a high desert drought area so it didn’t feel right to have grass. Most of the small amount of snow we get melts by 10. If not my husband shovels.
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Old 11-09-2019, 11:53 AM   #46
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We have gone full circle on this. When we retired we were in our early 50s so we let the house and yard help go. Now we are in our late 60s and our parts are wearing out so we have now hired a housekeeper and we are in a house with yard work included. We are on the waiting list at a CCRC and all that help will be included in the rent.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:05 PM   #47
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As a LBYM type, never had either and don't have one in retirement. Guess I'm too cheap. Maybe in the future.
Wild Bill shoulda taken more out of his IRA when he could have. . . .
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:11 PM   #48
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My aunt gave up cleaning at age 90 and hires it out. Same year she gave up cooking). My mom cleaned until she died just short of 90. I think it helps people to stay healthy.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:14 PM   #49
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Never had regular service people even when we made $$$$. I DIY everything within the realm of my competency and I rather enjoy it.
45 years old, single, no kids. Exited the job market in 2010 (age 36). Have lived solely off my investments since 2015 (age 41). No pensions.
Current AA: real estate 65% / cash 35%; Current WR: < 1.5%
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:14 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by Bestwifeever View Post
Now that we're retired, we have hired a cleaning lady, a mowing and leaf raking service, and snow removal. They all work very hard doing chores we no longer want to do.
We are on that glide path. Planning to hire PT housekeeping for a few chores. I mow our current small lawn. If we end up in a place with a large yard, we'll hire that out. We have several garden beds. Lately, I've hardscaped a few. DW loves to garden, but limits are encroaching....
Never let yesterday use up too much of today.
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Old 11-09-2019, 12:46 PM   #51
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I have no problem mowing the yard with a small diesel tractor. Getting a bit much work to mulch and trim so that will be farmed out more in the future.
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Old 11-09-2019, 02:49 PM   #52
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Never had them and hopefully never will. Great exercise and savings keeping two homes in tip top shape.
Just plodding along on Dividends/Interest, SS and a very small pension.
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Old 11-09-2019, 10:49 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by Andre1969 View Post
I toyed with the idea of getting a lawn service when I bought my house last year. The lady I bought it from had one of those big zero-turn mowers that she offered to sell me. She mentioned that she just put several thousand $ into it...but then I found out it was about 30 years old. I've never paid more than $1500 or so for a riding lawn mower, so I figured that something that old, that could run up that much in repairs, was just a bankruptcy waiting to happen! So, I passed.

On the day I settled on the house and started moving in, a guy from a lawn service stopped off, and dropped off a section a hose that he said one of his guys ran over, so he repaired it for her. I was a bit confused at first, and said, but she always cut her own grass? But, since she was selling the house, and wanted to downsize, perhaps she sold her mower? No, the guy said that it broke down on her! So, she paid him, $1200 for six mows. Or, $200 per cut.

Now, this property is 6.5 acres. Parts of it are wooded, and then once you account for the house, outbuildings, pool, driveway, etc, the mowable area is considerably less...but probably still about 4 acres. He said it took about 2 hours for his crew to come in and cut it all. He also said that, if I got on a contract plan with him, he'd do it for $150 per cut.

It was late in the season last year, so I said I'd think about it, and kept his business card. My uncle brought our tractor from the old house over, and cut it for me for its one last time of the year. He did it over the course of two days, and he said it took about 4 hours per day. So, 8 hours, total. Suddenly, that $150 per cut started looking pretty good!

But, my uncle is retired, and has nothing BUT time, so he's offered to do it for me. And, earlier in the year, my Mom gave me her old tractor, so now we have two of them, and hers is a little bit bigger than the one we have. Also, my uncle tends to cut "low and slow". I tend to go faster, but keep the mower deck up higher, so I'm less likely to kill any critters that sometimes try to hide in the grass, or can't get away quickly enough. I can cut the whole yard in 4-5 hours, depending on how high we let the grass cut. So, suddenly, that doesn't seem *too* bad.

Still, $150 per mow, considering the size of the yard, seems pretty reasonable. However, I'm sure they'd be out every week, so they could knock it out fast. I think we might have cut the grass perhaps six times total this past year. First time was in April, and I think the last was in mid/late August. This was a fairly dry summer. Even though it's pushing mid-November, it probably could use one last cut, but at this point it's no big deal. Anyway, I guess one way of looking at it is $150 x the six times we cut it = $900 in savings. But I'm sure the lawn crew would have been out an average of once a week for 6 months. So, $150 x 26 = $3900! Even if the dry season threw them off and they only came out 20 times, that's still $3000.

Eventually, my uncle will get too old to be able to do it. He's 67, but not in the best health. And even now, he has trouble driving the bigger tractor that my Mom gave us. It's heavier, the steering requires a bit more muscle, and it hits the bumps harder than the one we already had.

Once I'm retired, I'll have nothing BUT time, so I'll probably do it. But, who knows; I might change my mind. The old house is on about 4 1/4 acres, but mostly woods. It would only take 1-2 hours to cut the whole thing, depending on how out of hand I let the grass get. That didn't seem so bad. I'd knock it out right after work, and still have plenty of time left in the evening. But riding around out there at the new house, and after an hour or so looking around, and seeing just how much still needs to be done, can get a bit depressing.

So, at this point I'm on the fence about paying for a lawn service. I won't do it now, because I'm still in savings mode, and trying to sock away as much as possible. But, once I switch to spending mode in retirement, I might splurge on it.
How about getting some goats to munch on the grass, it works for the Reagan library
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Old 11-10-2019, 12:43 AM   #54
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Originally Posted by jazz4cash View Post
We have generous line item in the budget and DW has a cleaning service bi weekly. I gotta admit I was sorta stunned when others cited 2% of budget for this service but ours is only 1% but that’s still higher than I expected.
Depends on your income and the cost of the cleaning service. The last time we had a cleaning service we had a 3000 SF house and doing it biweekly was about $400 a month (with them not cleaning 2 of the rooms in the house).

So that is $4800 a year. So, even at an income of $100,000 a year that would be 4.8%.

Now, maybe your house is not as large and you have a less expensive cleaning person. Let's say you spend $200 a month. That is $2400 a year and is 2.4% at $100,000 a year and lots of people have incomes in retirement under $100k.
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Old 11-10-2019, 06:54 AM   #55
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I had to find someone to mow my lawn about 8 years ago due to medical issues. At 71 those problems are only getting worse so I have to hire for so many jobs and projects I used to do. Most of them I have been doing for decades and enjoyed the feeling of accomplishment with them all. I would gladly trade those medical issues for the chance to go back to being able to do all the maintenance chores again.

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Old 11-10-2019, 08:04 AM   #56
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I'm in the group that never had either. I do have someone apply chemicals to my lawn but I do all the mowing and gardening, and I also clean the house. At this point I think I'd have a hard time finding a cleaner who met my standards- the Ex and I had them when we were both working FT and my experience is that they have their list of things they do and they ignore any messes not on the list. I clean every room in the house including the basement storage area once every 2 weeks- it's just me and no pets so that works.

The house is built into the side of a hill- it takes me 45 minutes to mow but it's a heck of a cardio workout. There's a lot of garden space but I'm simplifying by putting in a lot of native grasses- they take very little care and the critters like them. When I travel the place that applies lawn chemicals mows it as well. I may have to use them all the time when I can no longer do it myself but I hope that's a long way away.

In the meantime I'm saving a bundle.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:05 AM   #57
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We have never had a housekeeper, or a gardener, so I voted "No".

We will NEVER have a housekeeper, or a gardener if anyone was curious.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:13 AM   #58
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Originally Posted by bingybear View Post
I may be missing something, but I've had neither.... thus I can only fire me.
+1. Lol
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:16 AM   #59
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Originally Posted by ckelly78z View Post
We have never had a housekeeper, or a gardener, so I voted "No".

We will NEVER have a housekeeper, or a gardener if anyone was curious.
Never say NEVER. As has been pointed out in this thread, hiring out help can be a good strategy to stay in your own home longer as we age.

With regard to this thread, I had a lawn service while I was working. I loved it, but it is not something I can justify in retirement as long as I have my health. One thing I do, however, is buy good equipment. I could get the job done with a smaller lawn tractor, but I moved up a notch and got a mid range John Deere for my acre lot and the job gets done quicker and a bit easier. I think the lawn tractor cost about two years of lawn service.

Never had a housekeeper, but in my mind, I’m always evaluating the value of getting one. Thinking of starting with just a few jobs like a major vacuum and dusting one a month while I do the tidying up in between. We’ll see.
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Old 11-10-2019, 08:46 AM   #60
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I like doing the housework and yard work for the exercise. I never understood paying someone else to do house work and yard work but then also paying to go to a gym for the exercise, unless allergies are a concern. I would rather expend physical energy and be able to see the result afterward such as a clean house and nice yard.

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